I have staff downstairs!
At last! After years of living way below that to which I had been accustomed to as a child, I have a person in my employ!
As I sit here upstairs, studiously attending to deeply intellectual and creative endeavours (rambling at you), the hired help is downstairs raising my youngest.
(Actually she’s a staggeringly brill friend who looks after the entire neighbourhood’s kids, but I may insist on her donning a wee mop-cap and an apron, now that I am officially one of her regular employers and also a gigantic arsehole with illusions of aristocratic grandeur…)
She has picked him up from school and will have endured all his stories that never end or have any point and made sure not to pull the wrong face in response or attempt to interrupt him.
As they walked home she will have obeyed his instruction to repeatedly stop and avidly watch as he lands his toy plane in the highly realistic manoeuvre he’s learned from ten thousand trips to the airport to watch the planes.
Right now she will be conjuring a snack which he will certainly declare revolting and then they’ll settle down to play airports with her having to stick to an EXACT SCRIPT of what the passengers are saying at that moment while he secretly scoffs the previously rejected snack after all.
The after-school hours are utter crap with a small boy who finds school overly-social and overly-structured. He acts like a dog off-the-leash, one with unpleasant control/anger issues. I am not in the least bit sorry for handing those hours over to someone who is better at it than me and not in a permanent state of exhaustion/frustration at not having enough time to work.
‘A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write…’ said Virginia Woolf along with heaps of other cool feminist stuff I can’t remember, but which for now I’m taking as simply meaning: fuck talent, fuck education, fuck ideas; you can’t crack on without dosh and a desk.
I have both. Yet it’s taken me yonks to work out that if I spend all the wages I earn in my real job on childcare instead of on clothes and treats for the kids, I can buy three extra hours a day to write.
So here I am for the first time at 5pm in this room of my own (I spent the first hour and half having a bath because one thing our Virginia failed to include was the essential need for a pre-work soak if a woman is to write her very best material, right?).
And whilst the kids won’t be having wagon wheels and crisps for the forseeable and eldest will have get with Primark if she needs new jeans, and all these hours may amount to nothing more than a pile of unreadable turd, I don’t want to be on my proverbial death-bed, saying I wish I’d worked MORE.
As Cyril Vernon Connolly famously said, ‘There is no more sombre enemy of good art than the pram in the hall.’ But I can ignore that coz I’m not making good art, just a bloody good read I hope.
And anyway, now I’ve got someone else to attend to that symbolic pram…